Miller Center

Richard Moe

Richard  Moe Richard Moe

Speakers: Michael Berman, Richard Moe
Date: January 15, 1982

Richard Moe (Michael Berman's portion of the transcript restricted) chronicles his work as Chief of Staff to Vice President Walter Mondale. He begins with the development of Mondale's vice-presidential role during the 1976 campaign and transition, particularly Carter's desire for a strong vice president and the integration of the VP's staff with the White House staff. He discusses Mondale's role in the transition period and the Cabinet selection process, and the administration's early efforts to court constituency groups and the Washington establishment. Moe describes the first year of the presidency as a failure to frame and execute priorities and the administration's troubles in working with Congress and creating coalitions. He outlines the organization of the White House staff and his interactions with key figures (Jordan, Watson), and the strong role of the Cabinet. Moe offers his perceptions of Mondale's operating style and his interactions with Carter and Congress. He also comments on Carter's approach to governing – how he received information, and the use of polls and task forces. The first day ends with a long discussion on the Camp David personnel summit, the "malaise" speech, subsequent staff changes, and Mondale's role. Day Two begins with a discussion of economic policy, particularly inflation and the budget, and the role of Mondale and Carter. He talks again at length about the operating style of both Carter and Mondale. The interview concludes with Moe's thoughts on the 1980 campaign, what a second Carter term would have looked like, and the successes and failures of the Carter presidency.